Don't ask questions like "Can I ask something?", just ask a real question.
Often people new to Chats, Forums etc. ask if they can ask something to get
help from a competent and helpful person. But such questions are often ignored
or you'll get told that nobody can help you, without knowing the problem.
And after such a question there will always be another question.
Pros of such a question
- As polite behaviour to gather attention
- The beginning of a onesided conversation (general problem analysis)
Cons of such a question
- The listening people could be helpful, but they won't claim (out of modesty) to
be familiar with the topic
- Often such questions are asked the wrong way, for example someone may ask
"can somebody here cook?" if he wants to know if mangos are eatable
- Even if someone is familiar with a the topic, it can be that he doesn't
know the answer for a specific question — nobody is all-knowing
- If there is no response to the question, the asker often remains quiet.
This way nobody who later pays attention to it can help with the problem.
- "Can somebody help me?"
- "May I ask a question?"
- "Is anybody here?"
- "I've got a question about…"
- "Can I ask you something?"
- "Does someone know something about…?"
- "Can someone help me with FTP servers?"
- "Is somebody here who is familiar with divorces?"
- "Do you have time?"
This is a rough translation of metafrage.de.
If you have ANY suggestions or improvements, send a mail to